DIY Mini Christmas Presents (To Put Under Small Trees!)
Growing up, my Mom always had beautifully wrapped “mini Christmas presents” under the tabletop tree in our foyer. They were typically just small product boxes she had collected throughout the years. When I recently wanted to add the same decorative touch to the kids’ mini Christmas trees, I didn’t have a collection of tiny boxes on hand. But then I realized I could easily make some by folding up pretty paper! Whether you too want to add some presents under a miniature Christmas tree or like to add them to garlands or wreaths, let me show you how easily these come together!
I love decorating our mini trees like the “real deal,” complete with gorgeous paper Christmas ornaments and mini fabric tree skirts! So what better way to complete this tiny display than with little faux Christmas presents!?!
These mini Christmas present decorations are just single sheets of gorgeous paper, folded together into a 3D box. While the mini gifts do technically open, the pretty paper itself acts as both the box AND decorative covering, so no wrapping paper is needed here! (Which is what makes these so fast!)
Additionally, these mini Christmas presents don’t require cutting down styrofoam (yuck!) or wrapping blocks. Since they are cut from paper using a customizable template, they can easily be made in any size and shape you want without the mess! So go grab a stack of (sturdy) pretty papers (and of course, some ribbons and bows), and let’s make some (tiny!) Christmas packages!
Here is what you need to make these simple mini Christmas presents:
- Gift Box Template from TemplateMaker.nl – You can adjust the template to any size and download it for free in any format that works for you (e.g., PDF, SVG, etc).
- Cricut Machine – both the Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore models will work for this project. The Cricut Joy cannot be used for this project since it doesn’t support the Scoring function.
- Foil Kraft Board in your preferred colors – metals | primary colors | neons | pastels
- You can also use really sturdy cardstock (e.g., glitter) or posterboard (more on this below).
- Metallic String
- Glue Gun with Glue Sticks
TIP! If you have a choice of Cricut machines, I recommend using a Cricut Explore because you can load the Scoring Tool and Fine-Point Blade at the same time, making cutting/scoring this project much more efficient (which is really helpful if you’re making a lot of boxes). You can most certainly make this project on a Maker model, but it will require swapping the Scoring Wheel and Fine-Point Blade between operations which can be slightly annoying when mass producing.
What Paper To Use
Because these boxes are made from a single cut of paper, you will want to use really sturdy paper or board so that they hold their shape and don’t crumple easily. I used Foil Kraft Board for all of mine, and also had luck with glitter cardstock and posterboard. Thick cardstock will likely work, but thinner wrapping paper or scrapbook papers won’t give these tiny presents the “heft” of real gifts.
Additionally, since we aren’t wrapping these boxes after they are assembled, you’ll want to pick papers/boards that look really pretty. Foil Kraft board has a vibrant, reflective sheen, but you can also use patterned or glittered papers as well!
If You Don’t Have a Cricut Machine
Although this tutorial will go in-depth on how to make these mini Christmas presents with a Cricut machine (or other e-cutter), you CAN make them with a pair of scissors and a bone folder. Here’s how:
- Print the template (linked below in Step 1) onto cardstock and cut out with a scissors.
- Trace the template onto the back of your sturdy decorative paper with a pencil and cut out with a scissors.
- Use a ruler and bone folder to re-create the score lines in accordance with the template.
- Jump down to Step 4 to see how to assemble your mini Christmas present!
Step 1: Download 3D Box Templates
Start by visiting TemplateMaker.nl and downloading the FREE “Gift Box” template. What I love so much about these templates (besides that they are free and SO easy to use!) is that you can customize any dimension (e.g., width, depth, length). By playing around with the measurements, you can create all sorts of different-shaped boxes with a single template!
- If you are making these by hand, download the PDF file.
- If you are making these with an e-cutter, download the SVG or Cricut file.
TIP! Create a few different templates with different dimensions to give your homemade gift boxes some variety!
Step 2: Upload the Template to Cricut Design Space
In order to cut the paper boxes out with a Cricut machine, you will first need to upload the template(s) into Cricut Design Space. If you need help with the upload process, see my tutorial here: How to Upload Images Into Cricut Design Space.
Adjust Operations for Interior Lines
Once uploaded, place the gift box template onto a blank canvas. When you do this, it’s important to note that every single line will automatically be designated as “Cut.” You will need to change this in order for your boxes to turn out right!
As you click on different lines of the template in the right-hand Layers Panel, you will get a sense of what line is located where.
For the paper boxes to fold up correctly, you will need to keep the outermost boundary lines as “Cut,” but change all the interior lines to “Score.” Use my screenshot below to help you.
TIP! It can also be helpful to refer to the original template, as the score/cut lines are shown in red/blue (they just don’t show up that way once loaded onto the Cricut canvas.)
Once you get all the lines designated as the correct operation, select the entire image and click “Attach” in the bottom right-hand toolbar. Learn why here: Everything You Need to Know About Attach.
Next, re-size the template to make the boxes miniature. This can take some trial-and-error, and you may want to cut a few samples with scrap paper to see how big they turn out once folded up.
In general though, you will want to make sure your template is sized under 11.5″ so it will fit onto a single 12×12″ sheet of paper (unless you are using larger cuts of paper.)
TIP! Consider cutting the same box template in various sizes to create different-sized presents of the same shape.
Step 3: Cut Out the Paper Gift Boxes
On the final cut screen in Cricut Design Space, select your material. I also recommend switching the Pressure setting to “More” to ensure the thicker material gets cut all the way through. Finally, note which tools it tells you to load when (as this will change based on what machine you are using).
Then ensure you have the correct tools loaded into the correct clamps, as shown below (or as designated on the final cut screen within Cricut Design Space).
Load the mat into your Cricut machine and allow it to run both the Score and Cut operations for your paper boxes.
TIP! Before unloading the mat from the machine, gently lift up a corner of material to ensure the project is cut all the way through. If your cuts are not clean, re-run the project before unloading by pushing the Cricut/Go button one more time. You should be able to pull off the excess paper around each template cleanly and without much effort!
Step 4: Assemble the Mini Christmas Presents
Fold All Score Lines
Start by folding the template along every score line. To get nice creases, I recommend folding all the score lines first in one direction…
…then in the other direction. In can be tricky to get thick board/paper to crease nicely, but folding in both directions will give you sharp edges.
Glue the Box Together
Once folded, you will use hot glue to secure the box together. The arrows on the image below indicate onto which tabs to apply hot glue. You will want to work quickly to attach all sides together.
Because the Kraft board is thick and therefor strong, you will need to hold the box together firmly until the hot glue completely cools. Or else you run the risk of the box unfolding and having to start over again.
TIP! I found it easiest to glue one set of tabs and allow them to cool; then the other (as shown below).
Once the glue is cool on all sides, you should be able to slide the top flap into the box to close it up!
Wrap with String
With your box all folded up and secure, now you can decorate it with ribbons, bows, mini ornaments, or other small decorations you can find at the craft store. I chose to wrap mine in simple twine to keep everything chic and modern.
The final step is to whip up many (many!) more in different papers and sizes, and then place them under a mini Christmas tree!
Our boxes are intended just as holiday decorations and are therefore empty (much to my kids’ dismay). But since these mini Christmas presents do have functioning lids, you could fill them with little treats such as candy, chocolate, jewelry, a gift card, or other small trinkets.
These miniature Christmas presents could also be used as homemade ornaments, strung up on a garland, or even placed on a console table to function as your “Countdown to Christmas” activity with family members for the holiday season. You could easily place numbers on each box (to correspond to the days of December) and open one a day until Christmas Eve!
As much as I love Christmas crafting, I don’t love making things over and over and over (unless it’s my favorite Christmas cookie recipe!) Since these mini packages are made with such sturdy paper, they easily keep from year to year (although I recommend packing them away stacked on top of each other with some tissue paper)!
If you love setting up mini Christmas trees around your home and haven’t yet added some mini presents, I do hope you give this project a try! It’s a really fun way to spend a wintery afternoon, and I think you’ll just adore the decorative touch they add to your whole mini display!